Don’t Just DO Something, SIT There!

There’s a funny little story about three little girls talking in a schoolyard. They’re comparing notes about who they wanted to marry. The first little girl said, “When I grow up, I want to marry a green grocer, so I can eat for nothing!”  The second little girl said, “When I grow up, I want to marry a doctor, so I can get well for nothing!”  And the third little girl said, “When I grow up, I want to marry a minister, so I can be good for nothing!”

From Chapter 4 of a remarkably insightful book, written over 100 years ago and from a most unlikely source, a Carthusian monk, we the following …

IV.  Useless Lives

We have seen how the necessity, advantages and duties of the two ministries, active and contemplative may be deduced from our Lord’s own words. The world in its feverish activity now understands but half of God’s design. It appreciates action, but not contemplation. Men know and perceive and acknowledge the need of action, and they esteem highly whatever acts and agitates, and nothing else. In so doing they are only being consistent with human nature, but they are mistaken.

Activity is indeed necessary, and cannot be too highly esteemed, but it alone is not enough, or rather if it suffices in the bustle of everyday life, it does not suffice for that of a Christian, which is a union of divine and human elements. In our present century, when faith is departing, as soon as a generous soul flees from the world and seeks refuge in the solitude of the cloister, men speak of it as a cowardly act, not in keeping with the age in which we live. They assume that this outwardly inactive existence was a beautiful outgrowth, a luxury produced by faith in the days when faith reigned supreme.

But now that we have to defend every foot of our stronghold, and are losing ground day by day, we need active combatants, and have not too many or even enough of them. Under such circumstances, how can we view with approval those souls which are filled with faith and yet quit the field of battle? This is what people say, though they do not know what they are saying. They talk of battle, with out seeing what sort of battle it is; and they speak of a battle field, and do not perceive where the contest rages most fiercely. They accuse the most generous souls of abandoning the fray, when they are really engaging in the hottest part of the struggle.

In recent years, I have purposefully and intentionally withdrawn myself from being a man of profile and of the platform in Christian circles. There are a wide range of reasons for that, but suffice to say, in doing so, I have discovered a wonderous beauty in a place called “obscurity”.

It is a place that has become so rich and beautiful to me, that I am always extremely reluctant to leave it. (I think in some ways, I might make a good hermit! … only in some ways ….)

But withdrawal from the maddening demands that public ministry places on you, has had a remarkable benefit for me. That is, I have begun to think more clearly and to see things more broadly. Essentially, I have become more of a thinker than a talker. And I’ve realised something in that place …

It’s been my observation that within Christian circles, we have our outstanding preachers, our outstanding worship leaders, our outstanding singer/songwriters, our outstanding leaders. We could list them by the hundreds, or even the thousands. But I’m not sure I could count on one hand the men and women who are known as our outstanding thinkers.

Don’t get me wrong, we do have some. But we need more. MANY more …

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… aaaand we’re back …

What a couple of weeks it’s been!

By now you’d be well aware that our server was taken offline about two weeks ago. It all began with some system instability about a month ago, and then, two weeks ago …. CRASH!

Well, after spending almost every waking moment on trying to resolve the problem, including having some "intense times of fellowship" with our previous data centre, sending hard drives to a data recovery specialist, setting up a new server, and getting everything restored to working order, we’re finally back online.

I would ask that you let us know if you experience any problems with the site. Is there missing content?  Do all the links you visit work?  Does everything appear normal to you as a user?  Your feedback will be invaluable in helping me make sure everything is as it should be.

Thanks so much for your patience. Elvis is back in the building!


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The Lost Gift of Discernment

Note from Kerry:  J. Lee Grady is the editor of Charisma magazine. You can visit his blog at It’s well worth your time.

The Holy Spirit has provided a way for us to sort truth from error. But in this season of spiritual compromise, discernment is not popular. 

When I began making regular ministry trips to Nigeria a few years ago I learned that a peculiar Nigerian minister named T.B. Joshua was causing quite a stir in that country. Often referred to as “the Man of God” or “the Man in the Synagogue” by his followers, this African preacher founded a massive religious compound in Lagos called The Synagogue, Church of All Nations. He began attracting big crowds because of his healing powers.
I was initially excited to hear about a new healing ministry on the international scene, but when I talked to pastors in Lagos I learned that no mainstream Christian church or denomination in Nigeria embraced Joshua as authentic. In fact, Pentecostal leaders had denounced him publicly because of his occult background and because he mixed Christian terminology with pagan healing methods.
I finally sat down with Joshua in 2003 to confront him about his story (including his claim that his mother carried him in the womb for 15 months because he was “special”). After being in his offices, talking with his zombielike followers, interviewing ex-members of his cult and watching videos of his bizarre methods (which include a form of magic writing), my own gut feelings confirmed what I had already been told by countless pastors in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and other cities: This man was not operating by the Holy Spirit’s power.

“God gave us spiritual gifts in a package, and discernment is part of the set. It is not optional.”

What was even more shocking was seeing planeloads of Christians from South Africa, Europe and North America arrive in Nigeria to attend this man’s meetings. The excited pilgrims came to receive a touch from God. They wanted a spiritual impartation. Some left claiming they had been healed.

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This Saturday’s Breathing Space

Just a quick note to let you know that this Saturday’s Breathing Space (quiet day) has been cancelled.

In fact, I’m having to slow down the frequency of these days simply because there are not enough people regularly attending to make it financially viable. If I could afford to do it each month just for myself, I would, but I can’t.

At this stage, the only other Quiet Day for 2008 will be on Saturday 29th November, and then next year’s Quiet Days will only be held once a quarter. More on that later.

It’s interesting to me that the purpose of these days is to give people "breathing space"; an opportunity to intentionally slow down in order to be alone with God in quietness and peace, and yet the consistent reason people have for not been coming is that they are just too busy … and I find that very telling.

In my own life, I realise I am somewhat addicted to noise and turbulence. I hate it, but I struggle to live without it, even when I know doing so will benefit the quality of my life. But the Bible is true in every way, especially as it relates to the Kingdom of God. The King James version of the Bible says that …

"The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."
Matthew 11:12

Now, my good ol’ Pentecostal training would tell me that this is about militantly laying hold of God by violently coming against the devil and his schemes to outdo God. That may be true, but it isn’t what God has been saying to me for some weeks now.

Firstly, what is the Kingdom of God all about?  Well, the apostle Paul says that …

"… the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the (Spirit) Holy Ghost."
Romans 14:17

What Paul is saying is that the Kingdom of God isn’t about stuff. It isn’t about temporal, earthly, natural things. It isn’t about "meat and drink". The Kingdom of God is a life of righteousness, peace and joy when lived in the Spirit!

And Jesus said that this very Kingdom of Heaven is within us, and it is this Kingdom that suffers violence again and again, day in, day out. It suffers violence through the insanity of 21st century life .. that is, the incessant noise, internal turbulence, frentic activity, work demands, family demands, church demands, personal demands, friendship demands, demands you didn’t ask for, go looking for, and demands you didn’t even expect to find. In fact, these are all things that keep us away from our relationship with Jesus!  And yet, I hear God saying that the only response to this is for us to be equally violent in response …. but it is a Kingdom violence I hear Him speaking about.

Here’s some of what Jesus said the violence of the Kingdom looks like …

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7 Years On .. We Must Never Forget

Today, is the seventh annversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

Last night, Jo and I watched a special on pay TV that featured a great deal of previously unseen footage from the day, forming a timeline looking at the events from as many perspectives as possible. From unedited news media footage, to private home movies shot on the day from within and outside of Manhattan, the special was immensely powerful, deeply moving and horribly sad.

Because I was in upstate New York on that day, was watching the news at the time the first reports went to air, and then had to live through the direct aftermath, like it or not, I am tied to those events. So, once again, I offer this made-for-radio special which I produced for this tragedy’s first anniversary, in an effort to never allow ourselves to forget two things; the innocents who lost their lives that day, and that the world we now live in is a very different one to that of seven years and one day ago.

This special first aired on Sydney’s 1032 at 8.47am on Wednesday, September 11, 2002 and it literally stopped the audience in their tracks. It has since aired on the Vision Radio Network in nearly 250 communities across every state and territory of Australia.

My prayer remains that the United States of America might earnestly consider her actions in the light of the Christianity they profess to embrace, both prior to, and since that day.

You can choose to stream this 35 minute made-for-radio special using the player below or you can download it as a tool for evangelism or for use in your church or small group meeting.

Likewise, if you are a radio programmer, you are free to use this production on-air. All I ask is that you let me know you’re using it.

Lest We Forget …..


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In the Light of My Last Post …

… this was too good to stay quiet about. It was published on the News Corporation website today. I encourage you to read the article and then visit the link to the original, because some of the readers’ comments at the bottom of the page are very telling …


How fast you reply to an email could reveal whether you are stressed, driven or relaxed. The familiar "ding" of an email landing in a colleague’s inbox has become as common a sound in offices today as the ring of the telephone.

But, according to researchers, the speed at which workers respond to a new message provides a fascinating insight into their character.

In a recent survey, experts discovered that email users fall into three categories: relaxed, driven and stressed.

Dr Karen Renaud, a lecturer at the University of Glasgow, who carried out the research, said that while some people were happy to respond to emails in their own time, others felt compelled into reacting as soon as they arrived and became stressed if they had too many to deal with or were delayed in responding.

Women, in particular, felt more pressure to respond quickly to a new email than men, she said.

"The relaxed group don’t let email exert any pressure on their lives," she said.

"They treat it exactly the way that one would treat the mail: ‘I’ll fetch it, I’ll deal with it in my own time.’

"The second group felt driven to keep on top of email, but also felt that they could cope with it. The third group, however, reacted negatively to the pressure of email."

Researchers found 34 per cent of workers, who fell into the "stressed" category, felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of emails they received each day and obliged to respond quickly to meet the expectation of the sender.

A further 28 per cent were "driven" email users because they saw them as a source of pressure, while around 38 per cent were "relaxed" because they felt comfortable not replying until up to a week later.

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I Know, I Know …

Over the last couple of months I’ve made a number of promises that I would write some things that have been on my heart of late … and I haven’t. It’s been an interesting dynamic to try and assess internally; the idea that I have things to say, but that it feels as though the Lord would just prefer I was quiet for a little while.

So you know what?  I’ve decided to give myself permission to respond to the promptings of the Spirit and to not yield to the odd demands that blogging creates within a person .. demands I never expected to experience. Here’s what I mean:

When I started the Wind Farm as a virtual gateway to what I still hope will evolve into a local intentional community of believers gathered around neomonastic values and principles, I never expected that I would begin to feel a "virtual pressure" to have to blog regularly, otherwise people might get disgruntled and decide to go read someone else’s blog!

It sounds crazy, but it’s true. This is genuinely something I’ve begun to realise has crept up on me over the last year or so .. and frankly, I don’t like it. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not for one moment suggesting that you or anyone else reading the Wind Farm has ever actually applied any pressure to me to keep writing new stuff or they’ll go look elsewhere. But someway, somehow, that weird pressure genuinely begins to show itself as you establish an online presence that draws people as readers.

Frankly, for all the supposed good of our ever-expanding and developing 21st century communications technologies, I genuinely believe we are far too connected. We are so connected, that it’s become the norm that when someone emails us, they expect an instant and detailed response, and then get offended when that response takes a few days, or God forbid, even a week! Or they get frustrated when they can’t reach you on their first attempt at a call to your mobile phone.

Let me give you a personal picture of what I mean …

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This is Remarkable!

From Kerry:  Having had a Grandfather, an Uncle and very close friend all die of cancer, I thought this story was well worth highlighting. Not only because of its potential for humankind, but also because Aussie scientists have been at the forefront of yet another major medical breakthrough. Thanks to the News Corporation website for the material.

AUSTRALIAN scientists are hoping to cure leukaemia, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis after their breakthrough discovery of how to stop killer blood cells growing.

The team has unlocked the secrets behind the protein which controls the way the blood cancer cells spread when it is damaged – and have found a way to stop its deadly process.

Work is now starting to design a drug to prevent the damaged proteins operating, effectively stopping the cancer as well as asthma and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

After spending a decade uncovering the structure of the receptor protein, which sits on the surface of white blood cells, lead researcher Professor Michael Parker, of Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Institute, said scientists could now build a drug to attach itself to the protein and stop it sending messages into the cells telling them to multiply unchecked.

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